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Alabama 472 articles

More U.S. farmers sue Syngenta for tainting corn supply with genetically engineered strains

corn supply contamination negatively affects US farmers export

Farmers in Alabama and 10 other states have filed lawsuits against Swiss agribusiness giant Syngenta AG alleging the company contaminated the U.S. corn supply with a genetically engineered strain of corn that China refuses to import. The lawsuits claim that Syngenta’s contamination of the corn supply, much of which is bound for export, caused China to reject nearly 1.5 million tons of U.S. corn shipments, resulting in an 11-cent-per-bushel drop in prices and depressing the overall corn market. This in turn, plaintiffs allege, has hurt corn farmers across the country. The complaints stem from Syngenta’s genetically modified Agrisure Viptera corn, which ... Read More

NHTSA updates air bag defect warning to include another three million vehicles

Takata airbag - image source alexauto321, wikicommons

Shortly following the U.S. government’s plea to nearly five million car owners to learn more about a life-threatening air bag defect, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has updated its warning to include three million more car owners believed to be driving under dangerous circumstances. According to the safety alert, the NHTSA is making the public aware of inflator mechanisms within the affected vehicles’ airbag systems that may rupture upon impact, triggering an arsenal of metal fragments to violently fly out as the bags are being deployed. Takata Corp., one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers in the world, manufacturing air ... Read More

Texas guardrail maker loses whistleblower case, jury orders company to pay $175 million

guard-rail - KCPQ-TV image

A Texas guardrail manufacturer accused by a whistleblower of defrauding the federal government has been ordered to pay $175 million by a federal jury. Dallas-based Trinity industries for years has manufactured guardrail systems for the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), which uses them on highways in most every state. In 2012, whistleblower Josh Harman, a Virginia guardrail installer and safety advocate, sued Trinity under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, accusing the company of secretly changing the design of its government-approved ET-Plus guardrail system. According to Mr. Harman, the redesigned ET-Plus guardrails cost less for Trinity to produce ... Read More

Whistleblower case against guardrail manufacturer to be re-tried this week

osha whistle

A whistleblower who claims a leading guardrail manufacturer secretly changed the design of its guardrail systems, making them extremely dangerous and in some cases deadly, will have his case heard again this week after the first trial ended in a mistrial. Joshua Harmon, a safety advocate from Virginia, is suing Trinity Industries Inc. under the qui tam provisions of the federal False Claims Act, which allow private individuals to sue on behalf of the U.S. government. Mr. Harmon alleges that Trinity secretly changed the design of its widely used ET guardrail system to save money, shortening the end terminals. But ... Read More

Alabama whistleblower’s retaliation lawsuit can move forward, appeals court rules

whistleblower

An Alabama whistleblower undergoing a protracted fight to get his job at Central Alabama Community College (CACC) back won his case this week in a federal appeals court. Edward Lane, the former director of CACC’s Community Intensive Training for Youth (CITY) program, was fired in 2009, allegedly for exposing an Alabama state representative’s presence on the program’s payroll despite doing no work for it. Mr. Lane eventually terminated the supposed employment of state Representative Susan Schmitz from the CITY program, which received federal funds for its operation. Federal authorities indicted Ms. Schmitz on charges of mail fraud and theft from a program ... Read More

Alabama getting $93.8 million for BP oil spill recovery and restoration projects

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Alabama is set to receive $93.8 million in oil spill money for coastal restoration projects in the third and largest installment to come from the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund, which was established to help the U.S. Gulf coast recover from BP’s 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees made the announcement on Friday that Alabama and the four other Gulf Coast states would soon be receiving their share of $1 billion in funds BP provided as a down payment in April 2011. Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas will share $627 million in ... Read More

Cleanup workers sickened by BP oil spill face legal limbo with medical claims

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Cleanup workers and coastal residents who were exposed to crude oil and chemical dispersants from BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill may be forced into the same kind of protracted litigation that prevented Exxon Valdez cleanup workers from getting medical assistance and relief from doctor’s bills. Some 20,000 Gulf coast residents and cleanup workers, many of them suffering from chronic health problems that manifested several months after their exposure to the oil and other contaminants, are part of a medical damages settlement class, but find themselves in a legal limbo thanks to, as WWL-TV reported, “a disputed reading of one phase ... Read More

Montgomery, Ala., whistleblower files second retaliation lawsuit against Infosys  

osha whistle

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A Montgomery, Ala., man who sued his Bangalore, India-based employer, Infosys, in 2011, alleging he suffered through harassment, isolation, abuse, and even death threats after he blew the whistle on the company’s fraudulent visa practices, has filed a new wrongful termination lawsuit seeking compensation and reinstatement to his job. Jack Palmer, a former software project manager for Infosys, filed his first lawsuit against the company in 2011. In that suit, Mr. Palmer claimed that he suffered harassment and other forms of harsh backlash after he complained of the company’s visa practices through the proper internal channels. Specifically, ... Read More

First deaths linked to enterovirus; five children infected in Alabama

Enterovirus - CDC

At least four people have died after contracting enterovirus 68, a severe respiratory illness that has spread to more than 40 states, sickened at least 472 people and caused neurological symptoms in dozens. The illness is most dangerous to children, especially those with asthma. Enterovirus 68 typically resembles the common cold with symptoms such as fever, sneezing, running nose and coughing. A handful of patients have reported polio-like symptoms with muscle weakness in the arms, shoulders, hips and facial muscles. Doctors do not yet know whether the paralysis is permanent. The first cases of enterovirus 68 were seen in August ... Read More

Judge strikes down BP’s efforts to recoup money paid on oil spill claims

bpstat

A federal judge in New Orleans overseeing the BP oil spill litigation said that the company will not be permitted to take back hundreds of millions of dollars it paid out to victims harmed by the massive 2010 Gulf oil spill. BP had sought to recoup payments it considered excessive from some oil spill claimants. Those payments were calculated under the accounting methods established by the 2012 settlement agreement, before Judge Carl Barbier ordered the claims administrator’s office last year to implement new accounting procedures BP considered fairer. However, Judge Barbier found in a hearing last week that the payments ... Read More